Brown Nose worms for vermicompost->INORA

Elfpermacl at Elfpermacl at
Thu Sep 17 11:53:04 EDT 1998

Thanks steve for another wonderful post.  I hope I "replied" right this time. 

There is a species which I recall only a s "tropical nightcrawler" used in the
demonstrations at the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction in
Silang, Cavite, Philippines.  (That is a complete address). IIRR has it in
their demonstration section, which I saw a while back now, in 1987.  They were
very enthusiastic about its capabilities.  

There are several fertility hits one gets from vermicompost aside from mere
degradation of the organc matter in a controlled situation.  First, as
creatures with gizzards, worms grind up very small particles of mineral matter
in the process of "chewing" their food.  This releases new surface area to
make available fertility minerals to the soil through biological activity.
Some release takes place in the worm's gut.  Apparently there are organic
compunds quite useful to plants that the worms develop.  

Wild worms under sheet mulch are very important too.  Some feed and digest at
the surface, at the interface between mulch and soil, and deposit their
castings there where they become riddled with feeder roots of plants.  these
conditions of ideal fertility placement and moisture lead to much more growth
than the overall fertility of the soil leads one to expect.  It is a right
place at the right time sort of thing.  I've pictures of this in the soil's
issue of The International Permaculture Solutions Journal--you can actually
see the hyphae penetrating the castings when the sheet mulch is pulled back.
The second benefit is from the nightcrawler type of worm, which constructs
vertical tunnels in the soil.  They rise to the surface to feed at night and
make tunnels with the resulting castings.  the tunnels are knit together with
hyphae, again, I suspect from mycorrhizalo fungi.  Mollison describes the
action of the worms moving up and down in these tunnels as pistons pumping out
stale air and pulling fresh air into the soil.  Again, these aerated sites are
ideal for feeder roots, particularly of crops that feed more deeply.  Both
benefits require zero tillage to be optimized.

We'll go into such in more detail in our next Online Permaculture Course,
which begins in November.

For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since 1982),
Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and annual correspondence
courses via email.  Copyright, 1998, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O. Box 52,
Sparr FL 32192 USA  Internships. YankeePerm at  

We don't have time to rush.

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